Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve Treats

I've been cleaning the house, putting away Christmas decorations, the boys have their friends over, and I'm making treats for us tonight.  Tomorrow I'm planning on making breakfast pizza for the kids and then we (just the family) are planning on going shopping and returning a few Christmas gifts so we will have the traditional New Years Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage on Saturday. 

Here are some of the yummy treats that we will be having tonight - guacamole (Carl has never had this and it's about time he tries it), cranberry bars (recipe courtesy of Janna B. from work), and Texas chocolate sheet cake.  This is kind of a long post, but I hope you enjoy it.

Guacamole (from All Recipes)
3 avocados- peeled, pitted, and mashed
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. diced onion
3 tblsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)

The ingredients for yummy guacamole!

In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados.

Mix in the juice of one lime and salt.

Mix in the cilantro.  I used a kitchen scissors to cut mine up.

Then mix in the chopped onions, garlic, and tomatoes.

Stir in the cayenne pepper (I didn't put this in my batch).  Refrigerate for 1 hour for best flavor or serve immediately.

Ohhhhhh, the finished product.  Can you see that I have a chip in there ready to sample the blending of flavors? 

I have to show you three kitchen gadgets that I used to create my guacamole.  All three are from Pampered Chef and are some of my favorite things in addition to their little brown squares and vegetable peeler.  From left to right:  the whopper chopper - I seriously don't know what it's called but I use it all the time; the middle one is usually used to mix up ground beef in a pan when you brown it, but I used it to start mashing the avocados and then went to a fork, the last one is the garlic press and you can guess what I used that for.

Cranberry Bars - This recipe is from Janna and I'm not sure where she got it from, but she tells us they are delicious!
2 c. washed whole cranberries (I used dried)
1 c. chopped walnuts
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. powdered sugar

2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract

Add small amount of water to obtain desired consistency.  Drizzle over bars.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray jellyroll pan with non-stick pray or line with foil.  Mix eggs, flour, sugar, butter, and 1 tsp. almond extract.  Spread batter in jellyroll pan.  Sprinkle with cranberries and walnuts.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let bars cool before glazing.

Before baking......

After baking, cooling, and the glaze.

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever (at least that's what Pioneer Woman says)

For the cake:
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tblsp (heaping) cocoa
2 sticks butter
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

For the frosting:
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
1 3/4 stick butter
4 tblsp (healping) cocoa
6 tblsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 pound (minus 1/2 cup) powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.  In a saucepan, melt butter.  Add cocoa.  Stir together.  Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.  Pour over flour mixture and stir lightly to cool.  In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.  Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture.  Pour into sheet cake pan (jellyroll pan) and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the icing.  Chop peans finely.  Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat.  Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Stir together.  Add the pecans, stir together and pour over warm cake.

I'm sure you can see that there was major spillage here!  I'm afraid to lift the pan up and how big the mess is that I have to clean up.  I think I went wrong when I didn't let it cool a bit, but hey I was in a hurry.

Happy New Year everyone!


Kathryn said...

That garlic press is da bomb!! Love it so much. All your food looked great. Reconsidering buying that Pioneer Woman cookbook. :) Happy 2010!!!

Love My Country Home said...

Thanks Kate - the food was deee-lish! Stop reconsidering buying her book and do it - would I ever lead you astray? I really do like her cookbook. Happy New Year too !

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